Kansas: Conservation, the “5th Fuel” (ENERGY QUEST USA)

Narrator: Kansas, a land of wheat, and corn, and cattle. In the heart of the country, it's number 48 out of all 50 states in energy efficiency. So this is a place where energy conservation can really make a difference. Come on, girls. Our region is a region of farmers. We are famously conservative and we have talked from the beginning about putting the conserve back in conservative. Narrator: According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver more than $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone. But, they say motivating consumers to take action is the key to unlocking this potential and that was the aim of Nancy Jackson's Climate and Energy project, with its Take Charge! Challenge. Kansans are patriotic, Kansans are hardworking, Kansans are humble.

Narrator: And Kansans are competitive. You all are competing against Ottawa, Baldwin City, and Paola, so really, you gotta beat those guys, yes? Do you want to help us beat Manhattan? Narrator: 2011 was the second year for the Take Charge! Challenge, a friendly competition among 16 communities arranged in four regional groups aiming to reduce their local energy use. Some of the lowest cost, most effective ways that you can take ownership of your energy future is taking ownership of the efficiency and the conservation of your house or your business. Narrator: Ray Hammarlund's office used federal stimulus dollars to fund four prizes of $100,000 for each of the four regions in the competition. Just as important as the grand prize, $25,000 went to each community to fund local coordinators who took the lead in galvanizing grassroots efforts.

Here's how the challenge worked in Iola. The challenge started in January of this year and ends October 1st. You're required to have three community events. We're going to have a lot more than that. Today, we are at the Fight The Energy Hog Festival. Becky Nilges: I love the hog. He was just so ugly that he is cute. He represents energy hogs in your home. You would probably let him in but you don't know the damage he's going to do. Narrator: Competing towns scored points by counting how many cfl bulbs and programmable thermostats were installed and how many professional home energy audits were done. Our job as energy auditors, both for commercial buildings as well as residential buildings is, we're essentially detectives.

What's happening here? Is there a great deal of air leakage? And we're finding that the majority of the houses that we're dealing with actually use a lot more energy than they need to. Narrator: In Lawrence, a house of worship did an energy audit, made changes, and got a pretty nice donation in its collection plate. David Owen: One part of the audit was to contact the power company. Well, during that process we discovered they had been overcharging us. And so we got a check, a rebate check from them for $4,456. Narrator: Other changes start small, but add up. We were a little bit worried at one point that the congregation would not accept the very bright, white type lights. So as an experiment, we took one of these chandeliers and changed all the bulbs in it to the cfls. And then we took the priest over here and we said, "which one did we do?" and he could not tell us.

So that told us it was ok to do them all. Narrator: Changing lights, adding insulation, and upgrading windows paid off. Even though it's an old building, we saved 64% on the consumption of energy in this room. Narrator: Lighting makes up about 15% of a typical home's electricity bill, and lighting all of our residential and commercial buildings uses about 13% of the nation's total electricity. But changing out old bulbs is a lot easier than paying for audits and the energy enhancements they recommend. Here's where the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge promised material assistance using stimulus funds. Ken Wagner: It's a $500 audit that costs you $100. The rest of that $500 is covered under the Take Charge Challenge program through the Kansas Energy Office. We really love the competitive spirit of the program and I think it's really raised a whole awareness of energy efficiency and the importance of energy efficiency to a lot of segments in our community here.

Narrator: Even Baldwin City bankers were grateful for financial assistance from state and federal governments. Dave Hill: Nine months ago, we installed a 14 KW solar power system. I believe the initial cost of the system was basically $65,000 and then we got a substantial grant from USDA, I believe it was $20,000. We have about $18,000 of our own money invested in the system, after all the deductions. We think it will pay out in about 7-8 years. Narrator: David Crane of NRG Energy thinks that kind of approach makes good business sense. Crane: What I say to every businessman who has a customer-facing business, think of a solar panel not only as a source of electricity, think of it as a billboard. You don't even have to write your name on it. Just put it on the top of your store and it will be sending a message to your customers that you're doing the right thing when it comes to sustainable energy. Narrator: Surveys of why conservation is hard to achieve have found that people want one-stop shopping, a place where they can find out what to do and get practical recommendations about who to hire and what it all might cost, just what this new facility was to offer.

Now it's mid-October, time for the results of the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge. MC: Fort Scott. MC: And the winner is Baldwin City. Nancy Jackson: Over 100 billion BTUs were saved as a result of this Challenge, and millions and millions of dollars in each community. Those savings come from measures that have been installed that will guarantee those savings for years to come. So the savings are enormous over time. $100,000 has a nice ring to it and it's a nice cash award for a community of our size. Our challenge now is to continue on with energy efficiency and encourage our community to save. Nancy: One of our real goals was to help people to stop thinking about energy efficiency as the things they shouldn't do, as what not to do, and think about it instead as a tremendous opportunity to both save money in the near term, and to make our electric system more resilient in the long term.

So it's about what we can do, both individually and together, and for us that feels like the real win. The United States today is twice as energy efficient as it was in the 1970s. And I think we have the capability in the decades ahead to become twice as energy efficient again. We believe this is something that can be done really anywhere with great success..

Japan in the Heian Period and Cultural History: Crash Course World History

Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course World History and today we’re going to return to medieval times. Mr. Green? Mr. Green? Finally, we get to watch jousting and eat with our hands and root for the Blue Knight. Yeah, No, Me from the Past, for starters, Medieval Times doesn’t closely reflect Europe in medieval times. And furthermore, we’re not going to be talking about Europe in medieval times, although we will be talking about kings and courts and aristocratic intrigue, but we’re gonna be talking about all those things in Japan. So discussions of Japanese history often focus on the Tokugawa period because it’s got ninja and samurai, but much of the foundation of Japanese culture dates to the Heian period between 782 and 1167 CE. And when I say Japanese culture, I do mean culture, because the achievements of the Heian period were primarily artistic, especially in literature.

So for most of this episode, we’ll be looking at cultural history as opposed to like economic or political history. As a novelist, and also a consumer of culture, I’m a big fan of cultural history. What I love about it is that it embraces the human imagination. I mean, you can’t just make up economic theories. Just kidding, you can. Anyway, for our purposes, Heian culture is the high culture of the upper-upper-class aristocracy, and obviously focusing on this tiny sliver of the upper class leaves out the experience of most Japanese people. But we know a lot more about the elite than we know about everyone else because it was the elite who were doing all of the writing things down and they were writing about the people they found the most interesting – themselves. In fact one of the reasons we know a great deal about the Heian aristocracy is because of Japan’s first great novel: The Tale of the Genji, by Lady Murasaki Shikibu. Now the historian James Murdoch called the Heian aristocracy “An ever-pullulating brood of greedy, needy, frivolous dilletanti – as often as not foully licentious, utterly effeminate, incapable of any worthy achievement”.

But when you boil all the unnecessarily fancy words out of that quote, that sounds like people I’m very interested in learning about. In fact, I love some fallicentuousness. So one of the first things we learn from texts about the Heian aristocracy is that the aristocracy was dominated by a craze for things Chinese. Now Chinese visitors to Japan thought the country was backwards and out of the way and uncivilized. But one of the reasons the Japanese seemed backwards to Chinese visitors is that the Japanese in the 10th century admired Tang China, which had flourished a couple of hundred years earlier. But there was also the fact that the Japanese blended Chinese ideas, especially Chinese Buddhism, with native traditions. In fact one of the most interesting aspects of Heian Japan was the overall attitude of the aristocracy, which was characterized by a love of color, and grandeur, and ceremony, and ritual, that was tinged with some Buddhist-inspired ideas.

You know, it’s sort of like how everyone in Canada wears powdered wigs and knee breeches to look like 18th century England. And one of the central ideas in Buddhism is that everything beautiful, and also everything not beautiful, is fleeting. Like historian Ivan Morris wrote that in the literature of the time, there was a quote “feeling that the familiar order of things will soon come to an end.” Which by the way is always an appropriate feeling. So the center of aristocratic court life was the capital, Heian Jyo, which during the Heian golden age may have had a populations as high as 100,000 people, making it much larger than most European cities at the time. It may have been a glorious capital but we don’t really know because most of the city was destroyed by earthquakes, or possibly fires, or possibly wars, or just the desire for new construction. We’re not sure. We also know that the Heian aristocracy was rigidly hierarchical, with society divided into about 30 grades based on one’s birth. The top 4 grades were reserved for princes, and the top 3, known as the Kugyō, received all the most important privileges, including governmental posts and revenues from special rice land.

These people in the highest ranks could send their children to university, wear ceremonial dress, they were given lighter punishments when they committed crimes. Can you imagine a world in which rich people systemically receive lighter sentences for crimes committed than poor people? These rules were so detailed that they even determined what type of fan you could hold. The top 3 ranks got to hold 25-fold fans. But when The Tale of the Genji was written, this rank system, like all those ranks, applied to less than 1/10th of 1% of the total population, so we’re really talking about the elites. As Ivan Morris put it: “Members of the upper class are almost all related to each other. They are totally uninterested in everyone outside their charmed circle and exceedingly sensitive in judging the precise social level of each person who does belong. In Murasaki’s milieu, to determine a person’s milieu was no simple diversion, but a matter of overriding importance.” Now that description reminds me a lot of my high school experience.

Aristocrats dominated the government, which over time became more and more ceremonial and ritualistic. In fact by the 10th century, much government work was carried out at night and consisted almost entirely of ceremonies. The nice thing about doing boring ceremonial work at night though: there was a lot of wine. So yeah, that doesn’t make for like, excellent government efficiency. Heian Japan’s economy was not much better than its governance. There was very little trade and attempted land reform, which was supposed to grant every citizen a parcel of public domain land, totally failed. Meanwhile, aristocrats accumulated vast agricultural land holdings, and by the 10th century court nobles were largely supported by these tax-free estates called manors. Now interestingly, the nobles didn’t technically own the land outright, as they did in much of Europe. Instead they owned the rights to income from the land and then those rights could be transferred to their heirs, so it was similar to ownership, but it wasn’t quite ownership. Also different from Europe: upper-class Japanese women could hold the rights to a manor, and thus have a rather impressive degree of economic power.

And that matters a lot because women played a key role in the flourishing of Heian literary culture that makes this period of history so interesting to study in the first place. Like over all this inefficient corrupt cronyism of Japan’s government and economy definitely weakened this state. But it also provided time and money for the aristocracy to make beautiful and interesting things. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Heian aristocrats were expected to feel melancholy over the transience of existence. “In Murasaki’s time,” according to Ivan Morris “periodical protestations of melancholy and gloom were essential for people who regarded themselves as sensitive,” and sensitivity especially to art was the hallmark of aristocratic breeding. The aristocratic gentleman is exemplified by prince Genji himself: quote “With his gentle nature, his sensitivity and his wide range of artistic skills, who represented the ideal of the age and who set the tone for the social and cultural life of the good people” Buddhism was very influential on the aristocrats aesthetic ideal that beauty must be cultivated because it is so impermanent.

This quote from the tale of Genji illustrates this focus on impermanence: “‘Like the waterfowl that play there on the lake, I too am floating along the surface of a transient world’ I could not help comparing them with myself. For they too appeared to be enjoying themselves in the most carefree fashion; yet their lives must be full of sorrow.” Stan, are you sure that’s from the tale of Genji? I think I’ve seen that quote attributed to me on Tumblr. But we don’t only know about the emotional state of the aristocracy, we also know about their pastimes. We refer to nobles as the leisure class for a reason after all, they spent a lot of time playing games, and engaging in contests. Poetry contests were popular, as were board games, like Go, and much of their time was taken up with ceremonies and rituals. Here is an example from the court calendar: “18th day: Bowman’s Wager, the new year’s celebrations are concluded by an archery contest which is held in his majesties presence between officers of the inner and middle palace guards.

This is followed by a banquet during which court dances are performed and prizes awarded to the winning side. Members of the losing side are forced to drink the cup of defeat.” Thanks, Thought Bubble. I’d like to make an announcement here at Crash Course from now on whenever we refer to anyone losing anything we will say that they were forced to drink from the cup of defeat. So you know other than pure Game of Thrones style drama, this highly ritualized very insular social order of the elites of the elites of the elites isn’t usually the kind of stuff we’d study at Crash Course. But first, thinking about the lives of the Heian aristocracy tells us something about the lives of the rich and powerful generally. Like obviously they had to increasingly separate themselves from each other to feel more and more wealthy and powerful.

Which progressively led to them being more and more separated from, you know, the vast, vast majority of people living in Japan. But also they produced and consumed cultural artifacts that came to define the style of the age but also have continued to shape culture. Heian aristocracy and the documents that describe it tell us a lot about women, who as we’ve seen are often left out of historical narratives. The Heian period, at least culturally, was dominated by women, particularly Murasaki Shikibu and Sei Shōnagon. So in some ways at least, unlike almost everything we’ve studied, our view of the period is dominated by women’s perspectives, although it is the perspective of the most privileged women. And what we see is consistent with a lot of upper-class mores: these women are obsessed with their looks, and especially with their clothes which were cumbersome and heavy. They were expected to wear their hair very long, preferably reaching to the ground. They had to powder their faces and blacken their teeth and they lived the circumscribed lives typical of upper-class women throughout the world.

Although there were some legal protections that they enjoyed: like we talked about how they could have income from property. Laws also protected them from physical violence, specifically prohibiting a husband from beating his wife, which might not sound like that big of a deal but compared to women’s lives in Europe, that was a big improvement. And upper-class women in Heian Japan were all literate and educated, although their education was limited to the types of cultural skills that would make them attractive to men: poetry, music, calligraphy, maybe some literature. Disciplines like history and law and philosophy were mostly off limits. And that brings me to something I want to talk about: all of these privileges: from the heavy, cumbersome clothes that make it difficult to move to the kinds of education women could have or the kinds of limited legal protections they could have, all of that is evidence of a patriarchy. So we see through these women’s stories the way that they were able to express themselves and their philosophies and the way that they lived in the world.

So women like Murasaki Shikibu lived constrained, cloistered lives, but of course there were opportunities available to them that weren’t available to men. And that’s what’s so exciting about being able to read their narratives. We just don’t have many equivalents to that in Europe at the time. That noted, these women, like their male counterparts, spent most of their lives indoors, and communicated mostly by intermediaries or letters. Women couldn’t show themselves to men or make conversation with them. But there was a great deal of interest and intrigue around love and romance, not least because Heian gentlemen were expected to be polygamous and also to engage in extramarital affairs. But just because sexual relations were often divorced from marriage and love affairs were common doesn’t mean that they lacked emotional consequences.

In the stories you read about Heian Japan everybody is always worried that they’re going to like, fall out of favor with their lover or their husband or their whatever. It’s so exciting! To read about, I mean, I’m sure if you’re living inside of it it would make you very anxious. Also when courtship and marriage had political dimensions, as they did in the highest noble ranks, women were often in danger of being displaced by a more advantageous match. And we know from the stories that all of this combined into pangs of jealousy and fear of being abandoned and then pain when you actually were abandoned. And those kinds of stories, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, have a kind of universality about them. The last thing I want to say here is that power works differently when you’re not in power, right? Like if you’re a student in a high school classroom the teacher has the power, but you have some power.

And the most interesting thing about the stories from the Heian aristocracy is the ways that women used the power that they did have to bring about change in their own lives and in their communities. So by looking at history through the lens of literature we get a very different perspective than if we were to focus on government documents, or archaeology, or descriptions of war. This helps us to try to develop a sense of how people at the time felt, although we’re only dealing with a very limited group of people, obviously. The cultural achievements of the Heian Period, described and exemplified by The Tale of Genji, were considerable, especially when compared to what Europeans were accomplishing at the time. And it’s another reminder that we need to be careful when we talk about the 9th and 10th centuries as the Dark Ages.

It’s also interesting that the Heian Period in Japan wasn’t particularly successful politically or economically, but that it did lead to great cultural achievements. And almost all of the literary achievements were made by women, which as Morris points out is “a rare, if not unique, phenomenon in cultural history.” For Heian Japan the historical record was written primarily by women. And while The Tale of Genji doesn’t discuss politics or economics the way that we usually imagine them, and while it describes a world that leaves out 99% of Japanese people during the period, it has a lot to tell us about the way that at least some people felt and lived, which is more than can be said for a lot of history books. And that’s a type of history that most of us can relate to more than stuff with generals and kings in it. For instance when I look at the history of my own life I find that generals and kings have played a very minor role. Jealously on the other hand: not insignificant. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week.

Crash Course is filmed here in the Chad & Stacey Emigholz Studio in Indianapolis. Thank you for watching and as we say in my hometown: don’t forget to be awesome..

Sending Humans to Mars: How Will We Do it? | Nat Geo Live

Why are we so fascinated with Mars? There's this visceral connection that we have. It's been a constant steady light in the night sky for us. You and I can go outside tonight on a clear night, look towards the southwestern sky, and see a bright orange star, the Red Planet. (audience applauding) Looking at Mars, it's also of interest because it is within what we call the Habitable Zone around the sun. And so we're going to be exploring tonight a little bit more. I'd like to ask our guests here, our experts on a little bit about that. And let's get into the challenges and what it really takes to get to Mars. – Mars is incredibly difficult to get onto, because you have to go through the atmosphere.

And the atmosphere is not your friend, because it swells up because of dust. When there's a lot of dust in the atmosphere, it shrinks. There are lateral winds, although the atmosphere is thin. But it is a scientific bonanza once you're on the surface. It has ancient rivers and ancient lakes, hydrothermal systems. All the evidence is there, the geologic evidence. It's from the first half of geologic time. So early in geologic time, Mars was warm and wet, and the international exploration of Mars robotically is all focused on if it was habitable and whether or not life got started and evolved and is still there. – That's amazing. So let's look at some of the technology. Let's talk about this character here. He's making a lot of buzz in the media, right? Elon Musk, he's the head of SpaceX, and his true love and passion is space exploration. And his vision is to send humans to Mars. So NASA isn't really alone.

They have partnerships. Is that… – Right. – [Andrew] Really going to be integral now? – Yes, so NASA historically has partnered with people, has consulted and contracted with organizations all over the country. And so as we're looking into this next phase, this going to Mars, there are still going to have to be these partnerships. As you say, Elon Musk is one, but there are others that are going to help us do the important work of figuring out what, exactly, the best technology is. But it is definitely something that we're going to have to do together. – It's not an easy thing. – No. – Right, so take a look at this. – [Male] T-minus four minutes. – [Peter] We've reached a tipping point. Thousands of years from now, whatever we become, whoever we are, we'll look back at these next few decades as the moment in time that we are moving off this planet as a multi-planetary species. – [Male] BC and DC verify F9 and Dragon R at startup. – [Male 2] F9 is in startup. – And SpaceX stands as nothing less than a massive game changer.

– [Male 3] Stage One, Stage Two present for flight. – [Stephen] Elon Musk says the only reason that I founded this company is to get human beings to Mars. – [Male 4] LC, LD go for launch. – The key to making Mars economical is the reusability of rockets. – [Male5] T-minus one minute. – I just don't think there's any way to have a self-sustaining Mars space without reusability. Getting the cost down is really fundamental. If wooden sailing ships in the old days were not reusable, I don't think the United States would exist. – [Male 5] T-minus 30 seconds. – And if they nail this ability to land a rocket any way they want on Earth, then they can nail doing it on Mars. – [Male 5] T-minus 15. – This flight is a huge deal.

We haven't yet landed the rocket. So this is going to be hopefully our first successful landing. – [Male 5] T-minus 10, nine, eight, seven six, five, four, three, two, one, zero. We have liftoff of Falcon 9. (spectators cheering and applauding) (dramatic music) – [Male 6] Vehicle's reached maximum aerodynamic pressure. – [Male 7] Stage 1 propulsion is still nominal. Altitude 32 kilometers. Speed at one kilometer per second. Downrange distance 13 kilometers. (explosive sounds) (slow dramatic music) – [Casey] Space is defined by the strange relationship between failure, risk and innovation, which is you can take risks. You can try something very innovative. But you're more likely to fail. – So what was it supposed to look like? Well, you'd have the booster going up, and what I'm showing you here is going to be a composite, a long exposure photograph.

What it's supposed to have looked like, and then the booster coming back down. And what you see on your right hand side of the screen is the booster that came down back onto the launchpad. And what I want to know, Jedidah, is why is it so important to have reusability? I'm talking about Mars, going to Mars. Why is that so important? – Yeah, over the long term, the hope is that if you can reuse something, it's cheaper, right? You want it to be cheaper and more efficient. It's sort of your workhorse that you just continue to use. It's not always the case that things are cheaper when you reuse them, but you want something that you can use, rinse, recycle, reuse. That's rinse, repeat, that's what you want. The other thing is, you want to be able to use that piece of technology as scaffolding for the next thing you do.

Maybe you use a piece of your booster to build the first structure, right? Maybe you recycle it in that way. So you hope, first, that there's a cost savings. You hope that there's a sort of efficiency that you can build in. And third, that you can use it as a scaffolding for the next thing. – Let's look at the idea of the timeline. What is it, like seven months to get there, right? Just to get there. So we need to, right now, start building up on that, and one of the most recent attempts at that is the year-long mission that both the U.S. and the Russians took part in. U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly, you can see here in this image, spent a whole year, coming back in March, exploring this whole concept of what happens to human body being exposed to microgravity for long durations? So we're starting to work on those aspects. And I'd like to know, I mean, what toll does it take on the human body? What does space travel, long term space travel, do to a human body? – The truth is we don't really know, right? We've never done this before.

Commander Scott Kelly and his colleagues were sort of the first to stay in space as long as they did. And even there, they had a lot more protection from Earth, from the sort of microgravity. Also, we were still in the magnetosphere, so they had protection from radiation. Still, more radiation than they'd have if they were where we are, but we don't know what's going to happen when you put a person in sort of interstellar, interplanetary travel for seven months. We don't know. We know already that you lose bone mass. We know that you've got these radiation effects. We have no idea about the psychological impact. So these are all things that we're still trying to understand, and his mission, their mission is critical to understanding at least step one in the process. So there's a lot to be understood.

– When we get there, I'd like to know how are we going to choose the landing sites? Now, what I've got here for you is the map of Mars, and these are potential landing sites that we have. What goes in, Ray, maybe you can speak to this, about choosing… – Well, there are engineering aspects. There are science aspects. You want to go to a place that's scientifically interesting. Could be layer deposits that represent kind of ancient riverbeds or lakes. It could be ancient hydrothermal deposits from volcanoes, or whatever it turns out to be. But you also need to land in a place that you can get back out of. And that's the plus or minus 50. It's relatively easy to go back into orbit. And not too cold, because Mars is cold to begin with. It's way below freezing on average. And if you go to the high latitudes, it's super cold. – You know, the ultimate goal is to send humans.

So what I'd like to know is what do you guys think in terms of the specialties? What kind of people should we be sending to Mars? – It's an important point to recognize that going to Mars is going to be what they call sociotechnological. It is not just going to be the technical that takes us there. It's not just going to be the sociological or the psychological. It is going to be the interaction of those two things, the optimization of those two things, that makes it happen. So, yeah, you want people that have skills that are technical. You want them to be able to fix things and create experiments. Physicians, you need someone there in case you have medical emergencies. But you also want the kind of mental stamina to be able to deal with all of the conditions that you're going to be sort of faced with.

So as I look at it, I think about not just your skills in terms of what you've been educated to do, I think of a variety of perspectives, of life experiences, of outlooks on life, because all of those things are going to be necessary to make this work. So we need an inclusive environment and an inclusive set of people. – [Andrew] I guess growing food is going to be important, isn't it, Jedidah? – Yeah, so it's this idea of being able to reuse and create a sense of self-sufficiency, right? We cannot haul all the food we'll ever eat to Mars if we go, if we stay. All of these questions. You just can't bring it. You've got to create self-sufficiency and food security there. So the idea is that you'll want to figure out ways to grow things on Mars. And not just for food, which is going to be important, but again towards that social component. You'll want something to do that brings you closer to nature.

We've seen Mars is an arid place. There's not much happening there, as we can see so far. So you want some green. You'll want to get your hands in the dirt. You'll want to grow something, see it progress over time. So there's that mental sort of restorative piece of going and being out in nature, even on Mars. – I mean, that's interesting, but when we're talking about going to Mars, to me this looks like a candy wrapper. I don't know, but there's trash on Mars right now already. – Already. – Right? There's trash. I mean, we're already… – What can you do? I mean, it's probably a piece of the sky crane. – Right, but we're not living there. Humans aren't there yet. We're sending our stuff there. And then we're already altering Mars, right? There's already alterations of Mars, and there's talk about how humans will be altered by Mars as well.

There's a lot of talk about that. And I want you guys to check this little video out. This whole idea of altering Mars and stuff. It's really fascinating. – Terraforming Mars is not a small job. This is a massive project. This is a bigger project than anything humanity has ever attempted. – Terraforming is taking an environment such as Mars and making it more Earthlike. – Terraforming is like super science fictiony right now. I don't think people understand how big planets are, so terraforming one is a ludicrous task. – You solve all the problems except breathing. So once Mars is terraformed and made more Earthlike, you're still going to have to wear a helmet on your head of some sort or some kind of breathing apparatus. – Might we have the urge to tinker with our DNA, such that you don't need a spacesuit on Mars? – We are on the edge right now of being able to change our own genome and our own genetics in our own bodies in real time. – Our ability to control DNA, the programming language of life, helps us open up Mars.

What happens if there is a virus that drives some kind of a flu and knocks out a large population or large percentage of your group? You can actually sequence the virus, send it back to Earth to analyze, and you can send back from Earth an upgraded T-cell. – If you do interfere with our genome so that you can survive on Mars, you're pretty much going through a one-way door and saying, I will never go back to Earth. – We might very well have a future in which you have different kinds of humans that look very different from each other. – Once we get computers that are smarter than humans at thinking about stuff and coming up with stuff, we can ask them to figure out how to cure viruses. – We can kind of tell them, look, we want to explore, and this is what we'd like to do. And then the robots, either the rovers or the helicopters or the balloons can make their own judgement and actually do the exploration. – So ultimately we're going to need things like machines that can make machines if we want to have a solar system civilization.

– Well, future technologies that we're developing on Earth now, like 3D printing and electric cars, can actually be extremely useful to us in creating an outpost of civilization on Mars. – Imagine being able to send a 3D printer to the Martian surface that sort of pulls the soil out, adds some water, adds some binder, and is sitting there 3D printing shelters in advance of a community coming. And you've got your homes pre-built waiting for you right there. – So Jedidah, this is all nice, but what happens if we find life on Mars? Will our plans be altered? – I think they should be, right? Because now we've got to understand and figure out what's happening, try not to completely decimate their way of being and life in terms of, probably, microbial structures and such. Also just small tidbit, no terraforming.

– No terraforming. Interesting. Why is that? – It's a stupid idea. – Okay. Why? – It's out of equilibrium. I mean, Mars is cold and dry today for a reason. Early in geologic time, there were volcanoes. There was a massive amount of greenhouse warming from the gases coming up. Because it's small a planet relative to Earth, it stopped its internal activity sooner than the Earth. So the gases in the atmosphere were on a one-way trip to be oxidized and placed into minerals. So if you increase the amount of sunlight with mirrors, or whatever, you can sublimate, get more water vapor in the atmosphere, more rain. But what's going to happen? It's going to react with the rocks and go back down into the subsurface eventually.

There's a famous reaction that was codified by Harold Urey. He's a very distinguished Nobel Prize winning chemist. And it's the way the Earth stays more or less the way we like it. Sometimes it goes into deep freeze. Sometimes it's really warm. But what happens is, is the volcanoes pump up the gases that keep us warm. But the hydrologic cycle consumes those gases, as carbonic acids, CO2 goes into the water, and it reacts and forms limestones. But the limestones go back downstairs, get decomposed, and the gases come back up as greenhouse gases through volcanoes. If you stop the internal engine, you go in the one-way deep freeze. It's what happened to Mars, because it's smaller than the Earth. So terraforming can increase the temperature of the surface, but you can get some gas out. But it will eventually get corroded and put back down into the subsurface in a one-way trip. So it may work for a couple decades, but over longer time, it's bogus, in my opinion. – And also would decimate whatever is there that we don't know yet.

– Yeah, there's a very important paradigm that all the nations are following called Planetary Protection. So you sterilize spacecraft before they're on the surface, because the worst thing to have happen is to go to Mars in the future and find ourselves. – All right, I have a question. One last question. If you could take anything from Earth, any physical object on Earth, what would it be, and you take it to Mars. Wouldn't you want to take something to Mars? What would one thing be? – I'm going on my 47th wedding anniversary, and I really like my wife, so she would go with me. (audience applauding) – Nice. You get points. You get points for that. – That's videotaped. – Is this being taped? – Yes it is. (audience laughing).